If your online content is critical to differentiating yourself from your competitors, understandably you would want to protect your content as much as possible. The level of protection you can obtain against someone reusing or copying your content altogether largely depends on what sort of content you have produced. This article runs through various mechanisms you can use to prevent other parties from ripping off your content.

Copyright Law

Copyright law in Australia is an automatic right that arises as soon as you create the copyright material. Copyright material can include illustrations, books, tutorials, software code, art, and music. The copyright material must be created and cannot simply exist as an abstract thought. For example, if you had a movie idea and never wrote the script for the movie, you will not be covered by copyright laws. The fact that copyright is an automatic right is a positive for many creators, however as the creator of content you do still need to actively protect and enforce your rights. This means that there is no copyright police scanning every piece of content on the internet to determine whether it could be considered an infringement of your copyright – this is your responsibility! The points below will outline a few practical and legal measures to prevent people from using your work.

Practical Measures

Take advantage of any technology available to prevent other parties from using your work through digital means. It may be a script that prevents others from saving your photos, or downloading your music. This will help to prevent others from having full access to your work. If you can release only increments of your work, so various parts are not accessible, this may also allow for greater prevention.

As noted above, you must actively attempt to enforce your legal rights relating to the copyright of your content. If it were to arise that you found someone using your copyright material and ownership of that material was questioned, it is helpful to have an adequate record of the process you undertook when you were creating the content. This means having the appropriate notes and evidentiary materials available to ensure you can prove that you were, in fact, the content creator.

Legal Measures

The legal measures for protecting your content can come in two primary forms. The first is having the relevant disclaimers in place outlining that you are the owner of the content and if required, details of how the use of the content is restricted. The second is having the relevant legal agreements in place, such as a Website Terms of Use. The legal agreement may be between you and your employer or you and the web-hosting platform that you use to post your content. The legal agreement should state that you remain the sole copyright owner of the content. This will help to prevent others making a claim on the ownership of your content.

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The above measures are simple, practical steps to help you keep your content secure in the digital space. As access to content is more readily available, the opportunity for other parties to re-use and distribute the content you create is highly likely. By ensuring that external third parties are aware that you are the owner of the content, you will help to prevent misuse or infringement. Questions? Get in touch with our intellectual property lawyers on 1300 544 755. 

Kristine Biason

Next Steps

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